New Study Exposes Gross Inadequacy of State Wage Theft Laws Workers and Allies Push for Better Worker Protections

Posted |

For Immediate Release, June 11, 2012

Contact: Cathy Junia , Communications Director, IWJ
Phone: 773-710-9837

National – Workers in 44 of the 50 states have little to no protection against wage theft, according to the recently released report, Where Theft is Legal: Mapping Wage Theft Laws in the 50 States.
The report graded states based on their legal protections for workers, and paints a dim picture for low-wage workers in nearly every state. Only a few states are starting to address the problem in earnest through legislation – and the vast majority have laws that are grossly inadequate.

Interfaith Worker Justice and its network of workers centers around the country have long recognized the gaping need for better wage protection for workers, and have kicked-off several local wage theft campaigns over the last few years. 

“Wage Theft is a problem that effects all kinds of workers in many different industries and hurts families and communities,” said IWJ Worker Center Coordinator Dianne Enriquez. “Communities are building and passing wage theft enforcement ordinances in areas that are typically very conservative and it is clear that this is because people are tired of unethical employers stealing from them.”

Wage theft is an issue that affects vast numbers of families in all states. According ot the report, over 60% of low-wage workers report suffering wage violations each week. As a result, they lose 15% of their earnings each year on average – a total of $2,634 per year – with the majority of workers affected supporting at least one child.
“This is growing movement and the IWJ network is moving to harness all this momentum to re-shape the way the country sees wage thieving employers,” said Enriquez.

More information on local wage theft campaigns available here:

 IWJ has been educating, resourcing, and mobilizing the religious community in support of justice for workers and working families since 1996. For more information about IWJ, visit our website or contact Cathy Junia, 773-710-9837